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Our Benchmarking Approach

Three-Way 23" LED LCD Roundup: Dell, HP, And Samsung
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Evaluating monitors isn't straightforward. No doubt, processors and graphics cards are much easier to review. Often, before we even start talking about a specific display, any debate about specific evaluation criteria gets lost in the discussion about how color behaves. That's why we aren't going to use singular test patterns that we need to measure with our eyes.

As a result, we are going to rely on a more objective performance analysis by using a spectrophotometer and monitor calibration software. Specifically, we are using a Spectracal-certified i1Pro, Spectracal's CalMan (luminance and gamut measurements), X-Rite's i1Match (default state), and ColorEyes Pro (calibration) to examine specific aspects of a monitor's performance. This allows us to isolate specific traits, such as color space, luminance uniformity, and contrast ratios, without having to rely on subjective impressions. If you are unfamiliar with these terms, we'll explain the benchmarks as we start picking apart each monitor's performance characteristics.

If there are other benchmarks you'd like to see from a display roundup, let us know in this story's feedback thread. We'll try to accommodate your request in our next LCD roundup. In the meantime, our current set of benchmarks gives you a good idea of what to expect, whether you are gaming or just watching video on Hulu.

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  • 1 Hide
    jimslaid2 , April 21, 2011 4:26 AM
    Ummmm LG! How Could you have left out LG?
  • 2 Hide
    taso11 , April 21, 2011 4:29 AM
    I think you mean DVI-D not DVD-D on your front page chart.
  • -1 Hide
    pirateboy , April 21, 2011 4:52 AM
    hey where did my comment go?

    anyway...
    please review 16:10 monitors next time
  • 1 Hide
    sleeper52 , April 21, 2011 5:01 AM
    where's the NEC EA231wmi or EA232WMI? that's around $300 as well and it's an IPS
  • 0 Hide
    aznshinobi , April 21, 2011 5:07 AM
    Hmmm.... Could've added an LG, I love my LG W2286L
  • 1 Hide
    Eggrenade , April 21, 2011 5:12 AM
    Input lag!!

    http://www.lagom.nl/lcd-test/response_time.php
  • 2 Hide
    fstrthnu , April 21, 2011 5:16 AM
    I'd actually rather see a 24 & 25.5" monitor shootout, they tend to be the higher-end displays of the brands (like Dell's super-duper Ultrasharp U2410).
  • 0 Hide
    Assmar , April 21, 2011 5:18 AM
    A certain retailer has the samsung monitor listed for 280 with free shipping. If you don't live in CA, that's tax free, i'm pretty sure.
  • 1 Hide
    sleeper52 , April 21, 2011 5:21 AM
    fstrthnuI'd actually rather see a 24 & 25.5" monitor shootout, they tend to be the higher-end displays of the brands (like Dell's super-duper Ultrasharp U2410).


    +1 I'd like to see that. HP LP2475w (rev 2.0) vs Dell U2410 (rev 2.0) vs ASUS PA246Q
  • -4 Hide
    LuckyDucky7 , April 21, 2011 5:23 AM
    Why would you bother buying one of these monitors when you can get an IPS one for the same price?

    How about reviewing something like the ASUS ML239H and give us a useful review, rather than going over which one of these junk TN panels is the best? 100% sRGB is useless if you can't see it unless you're straight inline with the screen (any sometimes not even then).

    KTHXBAI
  • -2 Hide
    agnickolov , April 21, 2011 5:53 AM
    Finally an article about LCD monitors!

    The selection is rather pointless (what self-respecting Tom's Hardware reader goes to Best Buy to get a monitor anyway?), however. Replacing Dell and HP with manufacturers like ViewSonic, ASUS and LG would make more sense, at least for the low end.

    Reviews for IPS panels would be very welcome, but TN is where the bulk of purchases go, so I'd like to see more TN reviews going forward too. Just get realistic online prices please, instead of the MSRP Best Buy sells at... Case in point - I bought my older generation (16:10, e.g. 1920x1200) 26" ASUS for $240 last year.

    Hopefully we get a series of LCD monitor charts (chart per monitor size) out of this some day, but we'll need a lot of testing activity to happen until then...
  • 0 Hide
    nevertell , April 21, 2011 6:03 AM
    Why would you even calibrate a TN panel, if the colors shift even if tilt your head a little.
  • 2 Hide
    andrewcutter , April 21, 2011 6:07 AM
    "If you're a gamer, wider gamuts should be your preference because the gamut required to adequately represent the colors in titles like Just Cause 2 is much larger than what's needed to watch an episode of House (which usually uses a smaller and darker color palette). This also goes for anyone that seriously cares about content creation. For example, if you're a photographer, accurate representation of a color space may be your livelihood. "

    toms i like your site but what the heel are words like photographers and content creaters doing in a review of tn monitors. :o 
  • 0 Hide
    lott11 , April 21, 2011 6:59 AM
    21" 23" 24" 27" LG,Vs ASUS Vs San sung Monitors for 3 way monitor set up,for ATI video card Gaming setup.
    and a best setup mount or alinement's, best in visual and smallest borders, so on.
    and just like gaming PC lets say $1,000.00 $1,200.00 $1,500.00 i would have said $900.00 but that is not realistic.
  • -1 Hide
    Anonymous , April 21, 2011 7:02 AM
    Would like to see (~300$) monitors reviews based on IPS panels. For example LGE IPS231P, Dell 2311H etc.
  • 2 Hide
    dirtmountain , April 21, 2011 7:26 AM
    Thanks for this review of monitors. Readers of Tom's run the whole gamut of computer people, from neophyte business people to foaming at the mouth gamers and even (as we see above) elitist wankers. You can always focus on premium displays in the future, thanks for this average budget minded review.
  • 0 Hide
    exenter , April 21, 2011 7:50 AM
    All tech sites I know of test games on the resolution 1920x1200, but only test monitors with max resolution of 1920x1080. Why is this?
  • 0 Hide
    neo700 , April 21, 2011 9:18 AM
    LuckyDucky7Why would you bother buying one of these monitors when you can get an IPS one for the same price?How about reviewing something like the ASUS ML239H and give us a useful review, rather than going over which one of these junk TN panels is the best? 100% sRGB is useless if you can't see it unless you're straight inline with the screen (any sometimes not even then).KTHXBAI[/citation.

    Is IPS some new kind of monitor?
  • 0 Hide
    ubercake , April 21, 2011 9:39 AM
    One thing I notice about the Samsungs these days is the 3 year warranty as opposed to most companies 1 year. That's pretty substantial in the day and age of producing "disposable" lcd monitors. I'm sure this is a big part of the higher cost. The picture is usually great on a Samsung monitor, though the reason I will always choose a Samsung monitor is the warranty all other things being equal (beside price).

    Samsung doesn't even back it's $1500+ 3D TVs more than 1 year (I can tell you first-hand there's a reason they don't!). Samsung TVs have the best picture around, but the component quality sucks balls. For this, I will never buy another Samsung TV (unless they add a 3-yr warranty to their TVs).
  • 1 Hide
    ibemerson , April 21, 2011 11:00 AM
    I will never buy another 60hz monitor again. So I would like to see a roundup of 120hz monitors.

    To quote a review from anandtech: "Though the 120Hz refresh frequency does make games playable in 3D, there’s another important benefit of using a faster refresh rate - everything looks smoother, and you can now drive up to 120 FPS without tearing. The ASUS VG236H was my first exposure to 120Hz refresh displays that aren’t CRTs, and the difference is about as subtle as a dump truck driving through your living room. I spent the first half hour seriously just dragging windows back and forth across the desktop - from a 120Hz display to a 60Hz, stunned at how smooth and different 120Hz was. Yeah, it’s that different. . . honestly, the completely unparalleled level of smoothness on a 120 Hz display has made me hyper attuned to just how flickery 60Hz looks on all the other LCDs I’ve got."
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